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UArizona doctoral student uses passion for nature to educate

Posted at 1:18 PM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-28 23:49:55-05

PHOENIX — Earyn McGee’s love for lizards has turned her into a social media superstar. Now the University of Arizona doctoral student is getting national attention for her love of science.

McGee is known more commonly by her nearly 60,000 social media followers as "Afro Herper."

The Atlanta native, 26, loves doing field research at UArizona and advocating for environmental conservation.

Her love for nature started when she was young. “So I was always interested in animals. Even as a kid. I wanted to go out and chase the rabbits and the snakes and whatnot,” McGee said.

Years later her childhood curiosity would grow into her life's work. Now she's making it fun for everyone.

She created "Find That Lizard." It’s an online activity similar to "Where's Waldo?" where she gives hints to help followers find the hidden lizard in her photos.

"I think that people really get into it because it kind of is one of those things that catches them off guard. They are just like, 'lizard? Like, what? Okay, whatever.' And then they're just like, it gets the competitive juices going,” McGee said.

Her social media super-stardom and academic accomplishments recently landed her on Forbes 30 under 30 list in the science category.

She said, “I am feeling really ecstatic about it because I’m towards the end of my program writing my dissertation and sometimes you know those little bits of validation are really nice to get you through it.”

She’d like to host her own nature show one day and she’s hoping her presence on social media will inspire young black girls and black women to pursue careers in natural resources.

You can follow McGee's content online on Youtube here and Instagram here.